As a second-grader Gary Brown knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up – a piano player.
While most kids dream of being an astronaut or President of the United States, Gary’s idol was closer to home. He wanted to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps.
Robert Murphy delighted guests in the Carolina Dining Room with his music for three decades before being diagnosed with cancer. He passed away in 2012, but his memory lives on thanks to his family.
You see, Gary isn’t the only member of the Murphy family who plays at Pinehurst. His uncle, Paul Murphy, has been known to take on dinner shifts when he’s not busy at his church.
Gary was just a freshman at Pinecrest High School when he started playing at the Carolina, but piano wasn’t his primary instrument. Instead, he played the drums as part of a trio featuring the Murphy family.
I’ve been playing here for almost 13 years now and it seems like I just started yesterday,” Gary said. “There’s never a dull moment and I love what I do. When I come here, I don’t feel like it’s work at all.”
It didn’t take long for him to graduate to the piano. After all, he’s been playing as long as he’s been walking.
“The piano just drew me near,” he said. “Every time I was around it, I would go and play.”
Gary took piano lessons, but his grandfather helped him hone his skills.
It was Robert Murphy who introduced him to musicians like Beethoven, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. He also instilled in Gary the value of hard work.
“My grandfather always taught me about providing a service and being able to do your best, have integrity and letting your work speak for itself,” he said. “I’ve always tried to carry that on.”
When Gary isn’t playing in the Carolina Dining Room, he’s busy tuning and cleaning pianos, skills he learned from his grandfather. His lessons got underway in 2006 when he was just a junior in high school.
“He was grooming me to take over the family business,” Gary said.
Gary plans to pass his love of music on to his son, Gary Jr., and daughter, Kaelyn.
“My son cries for the keyboard,” Gary said. “I bought him a baby recliner, and when I put the keyboard in front of him, he just plays and plays.”
Kaelyn, who is 5 years old, is more interested in vocal music.
“She’s has an absolutely beautiful voice,” Gary said.
Gary is available for private events, as well as piano cleaning and tuning. Contact him through his website garywbrownjr.com.